July 23, 2014 E.R.

A point on Journalism

The war between invading mercenaries acting on behalf of a mr Putin who seems more and more czar-like with each passing day, raises questions about the role of journalists. We pride ourselves in the western media tradition to "investigate and give voice to" every side in a conflict, and just as often we fail to live up to it. But it is a stated and admirable goal, at the very least.

But we ask ourselves whether we can adhere to this principle at all costs. This would involve giving airtime and thus some credibility also to the most weird fringes.

At some point in the process of reporting, sheer judgement and intelligence HAS to be used, and the paradox is that today the news providers expect the general public to validate the issues.

But history has shown that the public does not rise to this task, and we end up with a dilemma where the weirdos (for lack of better words..) benefit at the cost of serious and well based argumentation. Just over 3 years ago Norway had this problem pulled over their heads: Do we give credense to the terrorist Anders Breivik at the apparent cost of the victims and the general public?

More often than not, justice is not served by crampedly "balanced reporting". Simply because the truth, or the issue of guilt in the public eye, simply is not "somewhere in a balanced middle": If a man hits an elderly woman with a hammer to get her wallet, there is little need for a "balanced" approach. The guilt rests 100 % with the perpetrator" and 0% on the victim. Not 50%-50%.

BBC has seen this coming, and changed reporting accordingly.

RT on the offensive. Again.

Witless journalism? Does RT pay per word, regardless of the content?

One might ask oneself if russia benefits from hiring mr Mark Sleboda, a self confessed US war veteran appearing on BBC. We have yet to ascertain his credentials, but if the service to the US military is to be viewed in the light of  this media effort on behalf of a witless Kremlin things must be desperate indeed.

It is hard to imagine the level of ignorance and downright hostility shown by this RT reporter. Certainly the West has issues, but failing to see or understand the most evidence pointing directly to russia cannot be defended.

This is not journalism. This is just revolting.

June 19, 2014 E.R.

Novaya Gazeta journalist       Igor Domnikov

A court in russia have found that on 12 May 2000, members of Tagiryanov’s gang on the request from Pavel Sopot tracked Novaya Gazeta journalist Igor Domnikov from the editorial office to his flat.

There in house No 31 in Pererva Street the perpetrators attacked the journalist with a hammer 10 times on the head. Domnikov died later in hospital. The motive for the crime was financial, on the surface at least.  PavelSopot had bought the right to claim the debt from a large enterprise in Lipetsk and for the deal he needed the approval from the regional administration.

From the officials he learned that Domnikov was very critical and asked questions about their workand Sopot was feared that if the local authorities changed he couldn’t be able to settle his financial problems. So he did what one normally does: he asked a friend of his Eduard Tagiryanov, the leader of a gang to "settle things."

The court sentenced Sopot to 7 years in a maximum-security penal colony.

This reflects the findings of  the russian Investigative Committee, supposedly a watchdog in a contry where even the Law enforcement agencies will have to pay for crimes of the ex-investigator of Moscow prosecutor’s office Sergey Kosterev. He was sentenced by Khamovnichesky district court to 5 years in prison suspended.

Back In 2004, he had confiscated exclusive watches (Ulysse Nardin, Dubey & Schaldenbrand, Jaeger Le Coultre, Chronoswiss etc) and sold the items for ten times their worth.

What do you do when even the Prosecutors Office is prosecuted?

May 8th 2014 E.R.

Russian Journalism under fire

Most of  the easts remarks on west's misbehaviour falls to the ground in the light of what we have gone through since early 1900-s. And few have suffered more than  the russian people themselves. It is said that "we get as good leaders as we deserve".

But in truth, this is only partly so. And only part time. Russians certainly deserve better, having been mislead and battered in the name of an ideology that flew in  the face of all things human. And killed and suffered for the few who knew the this falseness.

Putin rules a country under "managed democracy" following the correct  observation that if you control the sensory input, i.e the flow of information, all else follows.

During the Pol Pot communist regime in Kambodja in the 1970-s it was said that the first thing to do was to kill all people wearing glasses: you kill the fish by cutting off its head rather than the ...tail?

Politkovskaya worked for Novaya Gazeta, part-owned by The Independent's financial backer, Alexander Lebedev, and the last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. (Reuters)

Russia has killed her own eyes.

Her own journalists. Despite a decades-long tradition of trading truths there was a relatively vigorous public debate in Russia, both in the press and radio/tv. However press freedom environment in Russia declined sharply with Vladimir Putin’s return as president in 2012. Authorities relied on a battery of crude and sophisticated forms "managing democracy" to distract the public from real events: terrorist attacks, economic troubles, and antigovernment protests. The government maintained its grip on key television outlets and tightened controls over the internet during the year, and most state and privately owned mass media engaged in blatant propaganda that glorified the country’s national leaders and fostered an image of political pluralism.

The russian rubberlike constitution guarantees freedom of speech, but officials have used the country’s politicized and utterly corrupt legal system to pester the few remaining journalists who dared to an elite that had removed itself from the public, guarding its assets and investments in western capitals. Russian law sports a broad definition of extremism , and authorities use these highly unpredictable laws to silence journalists. Naturally, journalists are like most others: they prefer to stay alive.

In the final months of 2012 Putin and the parliament approved a series of repressive, vaguely worded measures that significantly widened the array of regulatory tools available to silence legitimate news reporting on politically embarrassing issues and limit the work of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on media matters. A law passed in July reintroduced criminal defamation, a phenomenon comparable to the blasphemy laws in some islamic countries. Fines of up to five million rubles ($153,000) or up to 12 weeks of forced correctional labor were dished out liberally for practically any offense that  were in the table.

The year’s other new measures included a law that increased fines for participation in unsanctioned rallies from a maximum of 300 rubles ($9.15) to 300,000 rubles ($9,150): a thousand-fold increase(!); a law requiring NGOs receiving any funding from another  country to register with the Justice Ministry as “foreign agents”; and widening the legal definition of treason to include cooperating with international organizations “against the security of Russia”; and the expulsion of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) from Russia.

In short: a plethora of regulations to stifle the very soul of a free society.

In addition, a vague, restrictive law that came into force in November granted the state telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor broad authority to shutter websites, ostensibly to protect children from harmful information(!). In the first month 4,640 websites for allegedly containing “offensive content” related to drugs and pornography. Internet service providers were already required to block content in line with a government-maintained list of “extremist materials.”

17.th June 2014 E.R.

Yet one more  journalist killed  in russia...

One asks oneself two questions: 1. Trust russia? 2. What the hell is wrong with this country?

photo: Ministry of Internal Affairs Kirov Region

Killed: Galina Koshcheeva

Again it has happened. A 48 year old woman killed violently was found in the woods on saturday close to the village of Suna in the Kirov area. Initial reports show "signs of violent death".

She was the Editor-in-chief of the local newspaper Vyatsky Kray. You have to  be brave to  be seeking thr truth in todays Putinian russia, in a country where polls show that 55 % of russians do NOT consider that there is a need for an opposition (!)

An astonishing and exclusively russian point of view.

People die in Putins dream of a new russian empire. People have always died for Empires, before the empires themselves succumbed to a feisty mix of nepotism, greed on a systematic level, inefficiency and massive corruption. One notable example was the demise of the German Third Reich into a fog of blood 70 years ago.

A comparisom that Putin finds exceedingly uncomfortable. And in a country without truths (only the Official Ones) the majority of its dwindling polulation seem to agree, as well.

Galina joins the list of the bearers of truth. We will probe into this tragedy and see if the concept of shame is to be found there.

Where the dead body was found..Suna in Kirov district, russia

To sum events up a bit...

Or "how to shoot your foot off, only to choke on it?"

Thomas L. Friedman, Washington Post 2. June 2014:

"Let’s add it up: Putin’s seizure of Crimea has weakened the Russian economy, led to China getting a bargain gas deal, revived NATO, spurred Europe to start ending its addiction to Russian gas and begun a debate across Europe about increasing defense spending. Nice work, Vladimir. That’s why I say the country Putin threatens most today is Russia."

  Russian authorities tried  to close a Kirov newspaper     over ONE single word

Authorities in Kirov in 2009 pressed to close a local independent publication, the Vyatskaya Osobaya Gazeta, after the paper published an article mentioning the banned National Bolshevik Party (NBP). 

A member of the group is called a “nazbol.” Nikolai Golikov, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, said local prosecutors started administrative proceedings against the publication after it printed an article describing how activists from the party were distributing leaflets protesting the Government’s anti-crisis measures.

The Prosecutor’s office said that since the National Bolshevik Party is officially banned, any information about it or its members in the press was a violation of the law.  Golikov said that the article never described the group as a party, but that prosecutors found fault with the word “nazbol” and the phrase “supporter of Eduard Limonov.”  Limonov leads the NBP.

If a court sides with prosecutors, every mention of the NPB in past issues may be deemed extremist. 

Golikov said the paper was doing everything it could, including a linguistic examination and an appeal to Kirov Governor Nikita Belykh.  “We will use all possible methods,” he said.

This is uncomprehensible to  anyone in  the democratic west. It flies in  the face of the most basic justice: you cannot introduce retroactive laws. Under such a legal system anyone can find themselves deemed as criminals at ANY time depending on  the whims of whoever is at power at the given time.

No wonder then, that in russia also the past is insecure and open to debate.

1.th June 2014 E.R.

 Using our democracys  press freedom to make     us all "little Putins"?

Georg Orwells "Sqealer" resurrected from "Animal Farm"?

Ivan Rodionov enjoys his star-status in the Ruptly offices in Berlin's Postdamer Platz posing as a real journalist but merely echoing whatever his mentor Putin sais. He claims the opposing media is the gibberish of the "radical right-wing views" of the Kiev government, irrespective that the said government is duly democratically elected with a far-right party representation that is a mere fraction of any european country.

The threat comes not from the east, he claims, but from the western politicians. "Western politicians," he says, "are either helping directly or are at least looking on."

Read more in article here >>

15.th June 2014 E.R

Kick-starting the west into action?

Or the peculiar russian art of hugging and kicking at the same time

"Going.....going....... Gone!": Zero

Russias state owned Gazprom this morning closed off the flow of gas to Ukraina. And funny enhough it turned out to be as half-hearted as predicted: only stop to Ukraine, but immediately assurances to the west that no, you will not be touched by this "tiff between brother nations".

Considering that some of the worst relationshps occur in families, it is not strange that Ukraina has cooled considerable to the idea. The reality is that russia earns a hefty 60% of a national budget already on its knees. Thus the assurances to the West that no changes are coming their way: Russia needs money. Fast.

Instead, using reverse-flow technology already in place, the west can supply Ukraine, and at a far less bubbling price than russia.

Seldom in european political history has a trade with natural  rescource been used so blantantly as a tool to press someone into compliance. Only to  have the whole thing backfire in russias face. Lessons learned.

The tentative and economically risky contract with China recenty was a mere 16 % of sales to a west that has been jolted into awareness and a fair amount of soul-searching by russias actions.

Russias coffers are bleeding at an alarming rate: Some economists estimate the capital  flight out from russian corporations and banks may amount to 150 bln USD this year, and with a painful drop in foreign investments, zero-growth and double-digit inflation the russian public will certainly feel the result.

The west has had to realise that doing business with the local thug might involve more than cash: the security of oneself and ones real family of nations may be compromised.

Photo by FoxNews


May 14th 2014 E.R.

The dead and vanished

press above for the pdf downloable file

Russia is the 5th most dangerous place to be a journalist.

Only Iraq, the Philippines, Syria and Algeria are  worse.

Here you will find a list of journalists who  have fallen victim to  whatever forces that might have the power. It is  true that  journalism all over the world involves a certain risk of controversy and getting in the line of fire between opposing interests.

Personally I think there are two main criteriae indicating  the level of "matureness" in any society: the attitude and respect for the women in the society. And  the  conditions  that the press and media can operate under.

A journalist is the safety valve of any society. It is the canary bird. The earliest indicator of destructive elements among us.

No press is really  free. Even I am victim to  my own preconceived ideas, if not to any external  pressure. But the press operates on two levels: the facts, and  the opinions about the facts.

Thus, the press is prone to  get in  the way of certain interests everywhere. And Russia has proven one of the most lethal environments to seach hidden truths.

We honor those why try. And those who paid so  much for trying.

This list is a terrifying testimony. And yet I have attempted to show only the journalists killed outside regional  wars and conflicts where you would have to accept war-like conditions.

These are mainly those killed on he job. In Russia. We welcome comments and additional  information.

The list is neither complete nor up to date.  The reality is  far worse.